The Japanese Culture Club held its first-ever origami night in Room 322 of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) on Wednesday, Feb. 19 with a small crowd of about 15 people.
“We’ve had more people at events lately,” JCC member Sally Truong said before she started off the event by giving her presentation on the Japanese art of folding paper.
The word “origami” comes from the combination of two words. “Ori” which means to fold and “kami” which means paper. Originally, the art was only intended for the wealthy in Japan as they were the only ones that could to afford paper.
The event had small bags of Japanese candy that attendees were welcomed to eat as well as edamame and green tea. The tables had many choices of origami papers to choose from all sized in squares about three inches on each side. Origami paper differs from the regular printer paper that we use in our everyday lives in that it is thinner, allowing it to be more easily folded. The texture is almost like that of a cross between tissue paper and printer paper. The colors of the origami paper differed allowing for personalization on the creators part: blue, greens, pinks, and patterns like that of cherry blossoms.
Attendee Angelica Dziurzynski, a sophomore marine biology major, is not a member of the club but has always had an appreciation for the art ever since an elementary school teacher of hers got her interested in it.
“I like how relaxing it is and when I get really into it, I like having something at the end,” Dziurzynski said.
Dziurzynski did most of her origami in high school making sharks and cats out of the paper. She has never heard about the club before the event and only learned of it when she saw posters around MUB and had her friends come along with her.
Tu Anh Duong is a first-year student and joined the organization last semester, primarily because all of his friends were in it and it was an easy, fun way to hang out with them. He said that the organization provides an interactive way to learn about other cultures.
JCC founder and president Matthew Eager, a junior computer science major, started the club in the fall of 2017 with his friend, Sophie Pollack. He and co-founder Pollack are both half-Japanese and passionate about their heritage and wanted to share that on campus.
“[We] wanted to show students at UNH things about Japan that most people do not know about,” Eager said. “We decided making a club about Japanese culture would be the best way of doing this.”
Eager wrote in an email to The New Hampshire, that the club reaches out to some of the Japanese exchange students at UNH to try and give them a sense of community and make them feel more comfortable on campus.
For Eager, he does not find origami easy, but instead useful. At the event, attendees were taught how to make a box, a shuriken, and a paper crane. Eager said he uses the boxes he makes out of origami paper to store guitar picks and stray coins.
The next event that the Japanese Culture Club has plans to host is an Udon Night held in the MUB on March 6. The event is free but they encourage those who plan on attending to RSVP for the event on WildcatLink.